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Mstyslav Chernov

Let’s get past the gut wrenching photo of the tiny child washed up on the Turkish shore that has been all over the news in the past week. Actually, the photo is not the tragedy. It’s the story behind the photo, of the millions of suffering refugees that is the tragedy. The photo seen round the world offers perhaps a tiny ray of hope. A tiny ray of sanity. Perhaps.

We are reduced to worrying about asylum policies today because our world leaders failed to worry about foreign policies yesterday. Because it self-proclaims its leadership, the “leaders” of the United States must bear the brunt of this failure.

In 2013, in an alleged address to the Russian Parliament, President Vladimir Putin reportedly said that those immigrants who wish to live in Russia better learn to speak Russian and respect Russian law and culture. He reportedly went on to advise those living in Russia who wish to follow “primitive” Sharia law ought to go live where Sharia law is the law of the land. Finally, he reportedly admonished the Russian lawmakers to enact laws in accordance with his remarks. He allegedly received a five minute standing ovation when he concluded his remarks. (That last point might not be that amazing. Even our President is known to sometimes receive standing ovations. Of course it helps when he signs Executive Orders renaming mountains to entice his audience.)

There is no evidence that Putin ever made such a presentation to his Parliament. But, in only somewhat comparatively muted tones, he did indeed say the same to the Russian immigration agency at the same time.

In stark contrast, look at the friendly reception Western Europe has given to those who believe in Sharia law over the past several decades, particularly Sweden, France and England, where the very financial and social fabric of those countries are now on the brink of collapse. How is Western Europe feeling about its friendly immigration policies these days? There’s no need to guess. Just pick up any Western European newspaper and read about the right wing uprisings against the Muslims living in those countries.

And what about the asylum policies in the Middle East? How many of the millions of refugees has Saudi Arabia admitted to its country in the past decade or two, or indicated that it will under the present circumstances? By all accounts, the number is virtually zero. They don’t deny it. They have no enmity for their less fortunate Middle Easterners and they are not about to compromise their financial and social conditions.

And Germany, with its apparent commitment to take in as many as 800,000 refugees. What has it learned from recent history? Apparently very little. Affording permanent residence in Germany to 800,000 refugees who speak no German, bring no assets, bring little if any work skills, are in need of considerable medical attention and are committed to Sharia law and culture? How in the world is that going to play out?

I believe in charity. But charity begins at home. The Obama administration has committed to take in 10,000 refugees. The number is smaller than the commitments that even England and France have made, let alone Germany. Commendable, certainly humane, but . . . ? What about the 11 million unlawful immigrants we already have living in the U.S. today, many of whom tax our entitlements to the breaking point.

The fact is that we have tens of thousands of homeless Americans in every major city in our country, many of them veterans who risked their lives and sacrificed dearly to protect our interests, for whom we have not done enough, for whom we are not doing enough. Their circumstances are no less tragic than the millions of refugees making, and getting, all of the headlines today. All of the millions of dollars we are now going to be spending on flying these 10,000 refugees to the U.S. and housing, feeding and clothing them (and their future children, who will soon be born U.S. citizens), and providing them with medical attention, and teaching them trades, our language and our laws and culture. Shouldn’t we instead be spending all those resources on our existing homeless and less fortunate?

Doesn’t it seem like we need to be demanding that our “leaders” spend more time on developing our totally ineffective foreign policies than on our asylum policies? Won’t we do our country, if not the world, and tomorrow’s refugees, more good by stopping the Assads and the ISIS fanatics of the world—dead in their tracks—instead of worrying about the refugees for whom it is likely already too late?


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